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The Splendid and the Vile
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz | Erik Larson
150 posts | 93 read | 7 reading | 85 to read
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and The Devil in the White City delivers a startlingly fresh portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz On Winston Churchill's first day as prime minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons (30,000 of them Londoners) and destroying two million homes. It was up to Churchill to hold the country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally--that she was willing to fight to the end. In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people "the art of being fearless." It is a story of political brinksmanship but also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill's prime-ministerial country house, Chequers, and his wartime residence, Ditchley, where Churchill and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest. Drawing on a wealth of untapped sources, including recently declassified files, intelligence reports, and personal diaries only now available, Larson provides a new lens on London's darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their daughters, Sarah, Diana, and the youngest, Mary, who chafes against her parents' wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; her illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisors who comprised Churchill's "Secret Circle," including his dangerously observant private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Federick Lindemann. The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today's political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when--in the face of unrelenting horror--Churchill's eloquence, strategic brilliance, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.
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Butterfinger
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Pickpick

I want to listen to this epic research again. Like, as soon as possible. The intricate details that went into this work was amazing. The intrigue of not only between governments, but between the people. I loved how Larson entwined the primary documents, the diaries of regular people, with letters from military and government personnel to tell one heck of a story. Rudolph Hess's story was insane.

Butterfinger @megnews @MallenNC didn't you just say that narrative nonfiction was one of your favorite genres? Please put this on your tbr. 4w
sleepy.ash87 This looks like a great read! 4w
megnews I think it was @MallenNC I‘m not a nonfiction fan so when I make myself read it, I try to read narrative nonfiction, which I do enjoy. Thanks for the tag! 4w
MallenNC @Butterfinger @megnews It was me! I love narrative nonfiction. I do need to read this one. I‘ve enjoyed Larson before but haven‘t gotten to this one yet. (edited) 4w
44 likes1 stack add4 comments
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TheDarkBookworm
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I picked this book up out of curiousity. The title sounded interesting and sounded like something out of the Twilight Zone.
I've only just started it. So far, I find it interesting even though I don't read historical stuff often.
If you've read this, what did you think?
#thesplendidandthevile #eriklarson #winstonchurchill #theblitz #worldwarII #bookworm #readersshallruletheworld #readersgonnaread #bookwormproblems #toomanybookssolittletime

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DarkPizza
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I just found this so charming. And yes, I write in my books, fight me. I love buying used books with writing in them as well, or sharing books that are written in. It gives you such an insight into another person's mind.

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Sparkerdude
Pickpick

As a late Baby Boomer, I imagine grandchildren reading this book. It will be a story a century ago; and about people and a society that is long dead. Stripped down, like Churchill in all of his delicious indelicateness, it might be a character study for the ambitious who value competence, hard work, loyalty, ideals, symbolism, and who embrace joie de vivre(!). Larson reveals the force of Churchill in a single year (shorn of his worst colonialism).

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EmilieGR
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Pickpick

What was so wonderful about this book was that it wasn‘t just about Churchill- it was also about his family and his administration. Larson balances the man with the myth quite well and gives his reader insight into Churchill‘s motivations and desires. A fascinating read.

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Trace
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Pickpick

Great in depth account of the first year of the Battle of Britain during WWII from the perspective of the Churchill administration and family.

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Lizpixie
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Pickpick

Day2 of the #LitsySummerCampReadathon & I finally finished this brilliant NF audiobook! While waiting for more of the chunky wool for my scarf, I decided to keep #audioknitting and started this cotton baby blanket for my next grandbaby(due in 10 weeks!)on circular needles. This book was fabulous, it transports you back 80yrs to the chaos & death in a London almost destroyed by the Blitz.It gives insight into Churchill, his family & cabinet, plus👇

Lizpixie cont: there was a lot set in Germany about Hitler, Goebbels & Goehring which was fascinating. Highly recommend🙌 #NonFictionBingo #BookspinBingo #Pageathon #PennyPerPage #AudiobookChallenge2021 #ChunksterChallenge2021 #PickYourPoison #ReadingEurope2021 #BooklistQueenChallenge 4mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa Great job, and that‘s a beautiful color! 4mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 4mo
41 likes3 comments
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Lizpixie
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At the end of my 1st day of #LitsySummerCampReadathon I‘ve listened to just over 9hrs while #audioknitting my scarf. I‘ve had to stop as I‘ve run out of chunky wool until tomorrow🤞It‘s now at 130cm! I love this blue with the mustard yellow, I should‘ve bought more of it. #OpinionTime should I add a panel of the cream to this or should I order more blue & mustard? Will definitely finish the book tomorrow as there‘s only 3+hrs left.

Crinoline_Laphroaig I vote cream. 4mo
Crinoline_Laphroaig Also 😲 at the reading time. 4mo
Ruthiella I like just the bright blue and yellow together. 😀 4mo
37 likes3 comments
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Lizpixie
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100cms of #audioknitting (woohoo!🙌)and I‘ve run out of mustard.So the last half of my scarf will be a panel of this blue and a last touch of cream that‘s being delivered tomorrow.Bloody lockdown, can‘t even buy last minute wool! Just over halfway through the tagged audiobook, absolutely fascinating with not just facts about London during the Blitz, but also insights into Churchill‘s family, government & war office plus Berlin, Hiltler & Goerring.

Cinfhen Beautiful scarf 🧣 sorry about your current lockdown 😫I fear we are heading that way too!!! BTW: I really loved this book 📚 it was informative but personal 4mo
julesG Another great colour for your scarf! I'd recommend having a tiny stash of yarn at home, BUT I know pretty well how that gets out of hand as quickly as book 'hoarding'. Lockdown is a bother. I can see Germany going back to lockdown at the end of summer. I'm not looking forward to schools being closed again. 😬 4mo
Lizpixie @Cinfhen thanks lovely! Ugh this bloody lockdown seems never ending. There‘s two major issues, the Delta strain & our federal government‘s shortsighted lack of buying enough Pfizer vaccine thinking the Astra Zeneca was enough. There‘s so much hysteria about the deaths from blood clots but if you‘re not prone to clotting disorders or under 18, it‘s safe enough. Unfortunately I AM prone to clotting so won‘t be vaccinated till at least October🙄 4mo
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Lizpixie @julesG I‘ve just finished a few rows of the blue and they look perfect together! Now I‘m kicking myself for only buying one ball🤦🏻‍♀️If I started hoarding wool as well, the hubs would leave me! Though my MIL is a huge crafter and has a sewing room full of fabric and wool. I might check out her stash😋 These variants are putting everyone at risk again, I‘ve just read even China is now struggling with Delta. We‘ll never be rid of it😩 4mo
julesG We - humanity - will have to learn to 'get along' with pandemic viruses, it seems. 😩😩😩 4mo
Freespirit I hope you get you shots soon😘 4mo
Cinfhen That‘s super frustrating, Liz 😬stay safe ♥️ 4mo
40 likes7 comments
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Lizpixie
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So far I‘ve done 42cm of #audioknitting!Not bad for someone who hasn‘t picked up a needle in 20+yrs.I know it‘s easy chunky knitting but I‘m warming up before embarking on a blanket for my next grandbaby(shh it‘s a surprise🤫).Loving this audiobook so far, it can be hard to keep up with NF in this format but this has been fairly easy, plus the narrator is great at voices for each person which match with historical records.How‘s your weekend going?

Ruthiella Looking good! On the other side of the world, my weekend hasn‘t actually started yet, but I had a good Friday, which bodes well! 😀 (edited) 4mo
julesG I like the colour of your scarf(?) project. Enjoy your #audioknitting, I often find that I remember more from a NF audiobook when I knit (or crochet or...) along to it. 4mo
49 likes2 comments
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Lizpixie
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Just started an #audioknitting project! I haven‘t knit anything in years, so long ago I couldn‘t find most of my kit. Ended up having to rebuy most, not just wool but needles, hooks, measuring tape, the lot. Got some bargains on eBay & Spotlight though. Picked up a set of 11 USB light up crochet hooks in a case for $10!🙌 Thinking of adding some stripes of this blue & a cream, or should I just block mustard? Oh, the book so far is brilliant!🤓🧶

jessjess SATV is one of my favourite nonfiction reads this year 4mo
Tamra That yarn looks incredibly soft! 4mo
57 likes1 stack add2 comments
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bibliobliss
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The raids generated a paradox: The odds that any one person would die on any one night were slim, but the odds that someone, somewhere in London would die were 100 percent. Safety was a product of luck alone. One young boy, asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, a fireman or a pilot or such, answered: “Alive.”

#currentlyreading #bookblurbs #audiobook #audionerd #history #Europe #war

acitygirlsthoughts I'm thinking of purchasing this one, since I've read a lot of positive reviews about it! 4mo
bibliobliss @acitygirlsthoughts It‘s pretty good!! 4mo
35 likes2 comments
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EadieB
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Pickpick

#BookSpinBingo #July2021

This is an excellent account of the Nazi's bombing of London WWII during Churchill's first years as PM. Interaction with family members & staff & interesting anecdotes. Larson‘s an excellent researcher & this one is well done. I love the fact that Churchill taught his people "the art of being fearless." Having a leader like Churchill was a great comfort to the people. I look forward to reading more books by Larson.

TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 5mo
Daisey I‘ve enjoyed a few of Larson‘s books and think I need to add this one to the list. Stacked! 5mo
58 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Hestapleton
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Eggs 👏🏻❤️☑️📚👌🏼 6mo
44 likes1 comment
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Kdgordon88
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#CuriousCovers Day 3 #BlackandWhite This is in my audio library TBR. I‘ve liked the other two Larson‘s I‘ve read and I‘m looking forward to this one.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🖤📚🤍 6mo
ladym30 Love his books!❤️ 6mo
Eggs Great choice 👏🏻 Love Erik Larson 🖤⚪️🖤 6mo
46 likes3 comments
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Lauren_reading
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Pickpick

Erik Larson always entertains with the details and stories.This book focused on the nazi bombing of London in the first years of the war.There‘s fantastic information about how Churchill and his government ran the way,tried to gain support from the US and developed weapons and gained help from civilians.My favorite story was about him going to meet Roosevelt to plan after the US joined the war and how he stood around naked talking to the president

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Caroline2
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I‘ve been wanting to read this for a while now. 😃 #99ponmindle #kindledailydeals

mjtwo It was fascinating 6mo
Caroline2 @mjtwo good to know. 😉 6mo
65 likes1 stack add2 comments
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rabbitprincess

Not calling this a bail, but I am going to put this book aside until I can get hold of a print copy. Reading it in electronic format is simply too difficult for me these days when I spend my entire life on screens for pandemic reasons.

WanderingBookaneer Not my favorite book by him. 6mo
rabbitprincess @WanderingBookaneer I definitely found it harder to get into than Dead Wake, which was probably my fave of his. 6mo
21 likes1 stack add3 comments
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GinaKButler
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I haven‘t posted a #bookstack in a while. My definite April reads. Hoping the squeeze in a few more titles! #bookspinbingo

marleed Oh, I‘ve read 3 of the 5 on your stack and enjoyed all three. I picked up a signed copy of the tagged when the author came to Kansas City in Mar 2020. Within hours on that very day Covid became something that was true for the country and the world. It was clear he was not comfortable being there. And I knew then that it would be the last time I‘d sit in a crowded sold-out room for a while. 8mo
CoverToCoverGirl 🤩🤩 8mo
GinaKButler @marleed Well, that is definitely a “I remember exactly where I was when x happened” moment. I love his books and this was no exception! 8mo
18 likes3 comments
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GinaKButler
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Starting today! I picked this up during the Covid lockdown last spring and just couldn‘t concentrate on it, so I set it aside for brighter days. I‘m using this as my 1940s pick for the Decades Reading Challenge (by The Book Girls Guide). I‘ve loved several of Erik Larson‘s other books and can‘t wait to dive into this one...I‘ve heard great things! #bookspinbingo

CoverToCoverGirl It‘s REALLY good! 8mo
GinaKButler @CoverToCoverGirl I‘ve already been reading bits out to my husband. Larson‘s books are great! 8mo
CoverToCoverGirl @GinaKButler My grandmother was a war bride. She experienced the Blitz first hand, married my grandfather, then came to Canada with him in 1946, when he returned home after the war. She told us stories and because of that, I found Larson‘s writing so vivid and accurate. I felt like I was reading part of her life story. 8mo
20 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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bookishdawg
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Pickpick

I find Churchill fascinating, though admittedly problematic, and read everything I can about him. This is now a favorite due to the glimpses into everyday life during his first year in office. Highly recommend on audio 👍🏻

bibliobliss I'm about halfway through. Enjoying this book for the insights into Churchill's mind. What a character! 8mo
16 likes1 comment
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staci.reads
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Pickpick

Excellent! It's a close look at Churchill and his inner circle during the first 12 months of his tenure, as he led Britain through the 1st year of WWII and Germany's Blitz of England. Larson brings to life the colorful characters involved and the day-to-day life of Londoners during the time. This was my March #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm Ooooh, this one‘s on my TBR. It sounds SO good! 😍 8mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 8mo
64 likes2 comments
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melissajayne
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My favourite is the tagged book. I think I liked because it how Churchill rallied the Brits during the #battleofbritain with honesty and to do their bit and also Larson‘s writing style helped to move the story along. #lockdownfaves

Crazeedi Great book 9mo
Bklover I‘m looking forward to this one. 9mo
CoverToCoverGirl Great read! 9mo
See All 6 Comments
Bookzombie I haven‘t read this one yet, but have really liked the two others I have read. 9mo
26 likes6 comments
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tjwill
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ladym30 This was excellent!❤️ 9mo
40 likes1 comment
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ValerieAndBooks
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Pickpick

The subtitle of this excellent book sums it up well: “A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz”. London had 57 consecutive nights of bombings by the Germans during WWII and the cost of lives was extremely high. This focuses on Churchill and his family from 5/10/1940-5/10/1941 and for sure I‘d have been a nervous wreck during that time and place. A good look at one aspect of the war; not intended to be all-encompassing.
#botm

Lynnsoprano We visited the Churchill war rooms in London, and it was harrowing and claustrophobic to be underground like that for just a couple hours. I can‘t imagine spending hours and days on end in such confined space. This sounds like a great book for my husband. 10mo
ladym30 This book was so good. Actually, all of his books are excellent!❤️ 10mo
ValerieAndBooks @Lynnsoprano when we visited London (20 years ago) we didn‘t get to see the war rooms...not enough time. You‘re fortunate you got to experience it. I think your husband would probably like this one. 10mo
ValerieAndBooks @ladym30 I‘ve only read one other (Devil in the White City) and liked it. I have some of his others sitting in my TBR 👍. 10mo
73 likes1 stack add4 comments
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BooksBecomeYou
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Recently, someone asked me who my favorite author is, and instead of giving my longstanding answer, I really thought about my response. Learned something- my favorite author is Erik Larson.

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Berryfan
Pickpick

Excellent book on the politics of England during the Blitz

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dcove979
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Pickpick

Outstanding book. Definitely lived up to the hype.

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mjtwo
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Pickpick

5-12 Jan 2021 (audiobook)
A well written and researched book telling the story of Winston Churchill, family and guests during the London Blitz. Churchill was eccentric; Australia was barely mentioned (probably to be expected but Australians like to think they played a large role in WWII); and I concluded that Japan really won the war for the Allies - bombing Pearl Harbour and forcing the US to join seems to have been the deciding factor.

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melissajayne
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I put a hold on this in early March and because of the pandemic, I didn‘t get it until early July, around the time that the library I use opened up. I found it to be incredibly engrossing and riveting. Day 2 of #12booksof2020

Andrew65 Looks good. 😊 11mo
19 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Dcueto
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Pickpick

Lengthy but great. There was a lot I didn‘t know about Churchill

27 likes1 stack add
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Mccall0113
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#BOTM picks. Merry Christmas to me!

suvata Good ones all. I only ordered the first one but the rest are on my TBR. Merry Christmas!🎄 12mo
66 likes1 comment
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Chars
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Pickpick

There‘s a desire to get to know Churchill and “to find out how much of him was mere grandiloquence and how much of him was hard fact.” Amid the London Blitz, he was a peculiar tonic of a man who showed ardent commitment and inspired unwavering resolve.
In his daughter‘s words, “he has served the people with his heart and his mind always through peace and wars - and they have given him in his finest and darkest hour their love and confidence.”

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Cinfhen
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Since I‘m in quarantine my friend dropped off a bookclub goodie bag for tonight‘s meeting which I‘m attending via Zoom. There‘s a mini bottle of whiskey ( Churchill‘s favorite) wafers shaped like cigars, Earl Grey tea, Walker‘s English biscuits and a bath bomb (😉)!!!! So fun and I can‘t wait to discuss this book🤓

Lauram Love this! I might do something similar when I host our virtual meeting. Loved the book too. 12mo
MicheleinPhilly Cute! 12mo
Cinfhen Super creative @MicheleinPhilly @Lauram 🤩 12mo
See All 13 Comments
Leftcoastzen How thoughtful & creative! 12mo
Penny_LiteraryHoarders That is so nice and thoughtful!! 12mo
LeahBergen How sweet! 💗💗 12mo
AmyG That is so creative. I love it! 12mo
TrishB Cool 👍🏻 enjoy that Earl Grey ☕️ 12mo
JennyM That‘s so lovely! 12mo
Cinfhen It was a really sweet and thoughtful gesture ~ one of the many reasons why I love my IRL bookclub @JennyM @TrishB @AmyG @LeahBergen @Penny_LiteraryHoarders @Leftcoastzen 12mo
Texreader Oh that‘s awesome. Take care of yourself!! 12mo
Cinfhen I‘m only in quarantine because I traveled overseas @Texreader so Thank God Im actually feeling fine❤️ 12mo
BarbaraBB Such a thoughtful gift! Enjoy the evening! 12mo
98 likes13 comments
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Cinfhen
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Pickpick

I did an audio/ print combo 💚Narration by John Lee was outstanding 🙌🏻Using the Churchill Family and Winston‘s inner circle as the primary focus, Larson stunningly captures London & the effects of Hitler‘s war machine from 1940 -1941. Highly satisfying and very readable!!! {I was shocked by how many people kept personal diaries and how the diaries survived both war & time}

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Cinfhen
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I‘ve made GREAT progress on this chunkster🙌🏻 Currently on page 376 and I see 509-585 are all sources (which I won‘t be reading 😜) so I‘m definitely on target for completing by tomorrow night‘s bookclub✅ Larson is a gifted writer and historian although sometimes a little bit too much of an information junkie. I still highly recommend @Freespirit #NFNovember

Freespirit Thanks for tagging me @Cinfhen I think I will put it on my Christmas list😘 12mo
97 likes1 comment
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Cinfhen
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My bookclub meets this Tuesday night/ I can‘t attend in person because Im in mandatory quarantine for the next 13 days😷but I‘m hoping to read the book and join by Zoom. Book looks massive , although I‘m told it‘s a quick read 🤷🏼‍♀️

Megabooks You can do it! 12mo
Cinfhen I‘ve started it and I‘m pleasantly surprised @Megabooks it‘s informative but engaging too!! 12mo
TheKidUpstairs I haven't read this one, but I love his books and they usually read pretty quick! 12mo
Cinfhen I‘m really liking it @TheKidUpstairs He‘s a phenomenal writer 🙌🏻 12mo
85 likes4 comments
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jessjess
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#saturdaysip Today I'm reading Erik Larson's The Splendid and the Vile, and I'm drinking a homemade Iced Eggnog Latte (delicious!)

Nute That drink looks delicious!😋 12mo
14 likes1 stack add1 comment
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jessjess
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I'm only into chapter 4 so far but this is incredibly fascinating to me. Perfect for #nonfictionnovember

11 likes1 stack add
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JacqMac
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My new reading gloves came today. I love them.
I didn‘t get as much reading done as I would have liked though.
#24B4Monday Final time: 19:35
@Andrew65 @jb72

Texreader Reading gloves? What a brilliant idea! And where would one get reading gloves? 13mo
rather_be_reading awesome! 13mo
jb72 Those are fabulous! 13mo
See All 6 Comments
Andrew65 Fantastic 👏👏👏🙌🥳🍾🥂🍾🥂 Thanks for playing along. 😊 13mo
JacqMac @Texreader I bought two pairs on Amazon. They are sometimes listed as writing gloves or just fingerless gloves. 13mo
JacqMac @rather_be_reading @jb72 It has been very wintery here and they are amazing. 13mo
46 likes1 stack add6 comments
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JacqMac
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I couldn‘t sleep last night. It seems to be one of the many 2020 problems for me. But it gave me lots of reading time. I‘m really enjoying this one.
#24B4Monday Time: 15:43
@Andrew65 @jb72

Andrew65 You and me alike last night! 13mo
55 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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jessjess
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Library Book Haul:
✅ The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
✅ The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
✅ The Energetic Brain: Understanding and Managing ADHD by Cecil Reynolds, Kimberley Vannest and Judith Harrison
✅ All Roads End Here by David Moody
✅ The IBS Healing Plan by Theresa Chung
✅ The Diabetes Code by Jason Fung

🌿🍀🍁☘️🌺

Well, fall here has gotten colder, and yesterday they were predicting sleet, which thankfully didn't happen.

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EmMcKee
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Pickpick

Incredibly well-written. Reads like an almost-seamless novel.

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rjsthumbelina
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Pickpick

An interesting narrative. I didn't actually know much about Churchill going in to this, and Larson made him come to life. I will probably decide to listen to more of this author's #audiobooks, bc I felt like this was a good way to take in this story. Borrowed from my library via #libby

SheReadsAndWrites My mom LOVED this and so did my husband. It's in my TBR stack but now I'm wondering if I should listen to it. 🤔 1y
rjsthumbelina @SheReadsAndWrites I'm not sure a physical book would have been as appealing to me on this one. Sometimes I find nonfiction more palatable in audio, and that was definitely true on this. I feel like it would have taken me forever to actually read it 1y
19 likes2 comments
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a.bookish.byrd
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” ~WSChurchill

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Jgotham
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“No one had any doubt that the bombers would come.” #FirstLineFridays. This has been a good book, so far, about Churchill.